Thursday 28 February 2019

Books read in February

For the last week or two we've had record temperatures here in the UK. Parts of the country saw 20C yesterday, these are not just spring temps, they're summer ones! Doesn't feel right, I much prefer a proper winter and indeed, it is due to get colder from the weekend I think. Not that the daffs don't look lovely...

Anyway, enough weather and gardening news, February was a quiet reading month for me, five books read and these are they:

8. The Risk of Darkness - Susan Hill

9. To Oldly Go: Tales of Intrepid Travel by the Over 60s - A Bradt Travel Guide

10. Aiofe's Chariot - Katherine Pathak

11. The Mitford Girls - Mary S. Lovell

12. Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear

This book was a reread for me from at least ten years ago. I hadn't been all that smitten with it back then but during a blog chat with Judith from Reader in the Wilderness about the series I decided to give it another go, given how popular it is with a lot of people. Basically, Maisie Dobbs has set up a private detective agency after serving in WW1 as a nurse and going to Cambridge university. She has a very humble background but was sponsored by Lady Rowan Compton when she was caught reading in the library in the middle of the night, something maids were obviously not supposed to do. The Great War interupts her studies at Cambridge. Maisie goes to The Front to be a nurse where she falls in love with a doctor. What happens there, how Maisie subsequently sets up her agency and conducts her first case is the subject of the book. I have to say I enjoyed it much more than the first time around. So much seemed unlikely back then, such as a member of the peerage sponsoring a maid, but perhaps I'm less critical these days: more accepting. Whatever... I'd forgotten how good the book is on nursing in WW1, the full horror is there, particularly as regards the facial injuries of some wounded soldiers. I wouldn't call this a murder mystery. This is more social history with a mystery thrown in and as that it works very well. Looking at some of the upcoming books, there are 15 altogether, I find myself eager to find out what happens to Maisie so have reserved book 2, Birds of a Feather, from the library. Maisie Dobbs qualifies for Bev's Calendar of Crime under the May category 'Military figure has major role'... in fact there are two or three in the book. It also qualifies for Becky's World at War challenge under the category 'A fiction book set in the 1920s'.

Very pleased with this month's books. Five might not seem like a lot but two of them were over 500 pages so those took a while to get through, particularly The Mitford Girls, not that it wasn't well worth it as that was a brilliant book. In fact, every book this month was good, no complaints at all.

These are the two books I'm reading at the moment:

They have something in common, a lovely vein of gentle, dry humour running through both of them.

And after those I'm not sure what I'll read. Possibly one or two of these:

And as well as reading 5 books this month I also completed this:

3,000 pieces, Alesund in Norway. Happy reading in March!



TracyK said...

The two books you are reading right now look very interesting.

I have got to sign up for Becky's World at War challenge soon and do a post, as I am already reading books for it. And I want that list for the challenge as a motivator.

I will also enjoy seeing what you think of the books on your possible TBR pile... when you get to them.

Cath said...

Tracy: The two books I'm reading at the moment are indeed excellent.

The World at War challenge I'm finding very interesting and have some good books lined up for it. I quite fancy filling in the whole grid but can't imagine I'll be able to. Will keep an eye out for your post.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

It's been a funny February - but back to normal here now - cold and windy March!

But you had a good reading month (as I did too) and I remember reading Maisie Dobbs years ago. I loved it, but never managed to read the second book - although I've read a few of the later books since then.

The World at War challenge tempts me - especially as I made a good start reading about WW1 in Paxton's book. I'm finding it hard to settle down to actually writing about the books I've read and I haven't written about that one. I bought the e-book of The War that Ended the Peace - such a long book - but it looks fascinating.

Cath said...

Margaret: Yes, back to normal weather now and, to be honest, I don't mind.

Oh right, so the same thing happened to you with Maisie Dobbs and the 2nd book in the series. That's interesting. A lot of the later books look good and I'm looking forward to reading them.

I would actually think the Paxman WW1 book will be quite hard to write about. I got bogged down and gave up on it but am sure I'll go back to it, probably this year. I'm finding the World at War challenge extremely interesting and would quite like to read something in every category. Likely that's a trifle ambitious...